LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Jefferson Elementary School Librarian Lori Benson always wanted a library pet. Now, she has one that advertises the scholastic book fair and gives book reviews for different grades.
She's been with the school for four years and two years in she was inspired by another teacher who wanted to take pictures of a rabbit one Easter on her hobby farm.
That's how she adopted Dewey the rabbit from a pet store in Searcy to help students.
"I wanted to create a safe place for them to come and read. No judgment. You can stumble over a word. Dewey doesn't care. He just sits and listens to them," said Benson.
She says some students come in and read to Dewey with different voices that are animated. Some come in and whisper. Others just come in to show him pictures.
"They're excited to come and once they're excited to come to the library, then they get excited about books and then they get excited about reading," said Benson.
Rava is going to the 2nd grade next year and always chooses to read to Dewey when she'd win an award in her class.
9-year-old Tyler McAlpine describes Dewey's personality as cheerful, active, and shy.
4-year-old twins Blakely and Haley are going into kindergarten and they love to pet and play with Dewey when he comes out of his cage.
Sisters 10-year-old Kate and 6-year-old Meg make funny faces at Dewey and have staring contests to see who will blink first.
"The thing about Dewey is he adds just a special treat to the library. So he makes the library more inviting and warm," said Benson.